Phillies Voice Andy Musser Signs Off

Posted January 26th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Andy Musser, Gregg Kersey, Philadelphia Phillies, Tom McCarthy
(Photo courtesy
Gregg Kersey)

For 26 seasons, Andy Musser spoke to — and for — Phillies fans. The former team announcer died Sunday at age 74.

I gasped when I looked up Musser on http://www.sportscollectors.net/. How many collectors had contacted Musser since his departure after the 2001 season?

Zero.

I wrote about Phillies super-fan Gregg Kersey in 2011, when I learned about his mega-signed Veterans Stadium ballpark seat. Sure enough, I’m grateful that Gregg had some great insights into this overlooked commentator:

“Andy was always in his quote ‘Second Hot Dog’ (role) to Harry Kalas, and I heard a clip of him on the radio today where he compared himself to a middle reliever that never had much as far as stats but always came through when you needed him.  He was one of those distinct voices that are part of my childhood much like Harry and Richie Ashburn, but he never was much of a fan favorite but was never sure of as to why.  He had very distinct voice that was hard to forget. 

I wrote to him in care of his home, just went nosing around on the internet until I found what I thought could be the right address and mailed off the Phillies announcers card I had from when I was growing up. He signed and sent it back with the letter. It actually was mailed out on a Monday and was back on Wednesday so he holds my personal record with fastest reply LOL. 

The reason I wrote to him was I didnt have any autographs of him and wanted him as part of my collection.

Also have another Phillies announcer story from this summer if you would like to hear it: I mailed to current announcer Tom McCarthy and it was picture of the 2008 announcers.  It was signed only by Harry Kalas and I figured I would try to get it completed by all of them. So I mailed to Tom and that also came back with a great letter about Harry and signed by everybody. 

The announcers are always forgotten but when they are gone you realize they are the voices of your
childhood, and you hit that point in life you wish you could have them back even for a brief moment.”

I found this additional tribute to Musser worth sharing!

Coming Friday: Do you think baseball autograph collecting is an all-male domain? Think again!

Being Bob Kipper’s Teammate

Posted January 25th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Bob Kipper, Jeff Schultz, www.sportscollectors.net
Yep! He looks like a fellow collector!

I like  the word “teammate.” Someone who gives selflessly.

I never played with the major league pitcher. But I like to think I’m on the same team as Jeff Schultz.

The http://www.sportscollectors.net/ member posted that he received 4 out of 4 cards returned autographed by the South Carolina retiree in November, all in less than 10 days.

Jeff added the mention that he enclosed 46 extras for the one-time Pirate.

Jeff knew that Mr. Kipper was a collector. He knew about the 1997 house fire that wiped out the former player’s collection. A sincere thank-you note came after the gift.

He didn’t sell Bob Kipper the cards.
He didn’t trade him extra cards.
He GAVE!

You don’t have to enclose money or extra cards when you write to former players. You know what you hope to get from the letter. Before you mail, ask yourself what you’re GIVING the person you’ve written.

Coming Thursday: Remembering Phillies broadcaster Andy Musser!

The Lessons of Howie Nunn

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Howie Nunn, Jim Brosnan, Ron Martin
Mr. Nunn’s signing days may be over…

Today’s insight comes courtesy of Ron Martin, devoted Reds fan and selfless collector.

On the http://www.sportscollectors.net/ message board, a collector told of sending Howie Nunn a 1962 Topps card and $10 cash. Another collector’s letter was returned, autographed by Nunn, but no signed card was included.

Ron posted an update that Mr. Nunn had entered the hospital, facing uncertain prospects.

I contacted Ron, asking how he knew.

Being a student of Reds history who appreciated Jim Brosnan’s book The Pennant Race, Ron has been trying to collect the autographs of the remaining 1961 pennant-winning Reds.

Since Ron lived less than an hour from Mr. Nunn’s home, he wrote in hopes of an in-person meeting. He’s met many of the 1961 Reds. Being a studied collector, Ron knew that Nunn has been an iffy signer for years. Therefore, he offered to pay for an autograph, even inviting him to a meal out.

Ron’s two-page letter brought a phone call from Mrs. Nunn. She explained her husband’s situation.

Instead of moaning over the near-miss, Ron’s purchased a copy of Brosnan’s book for Mrs. Nunn. He noted that he’s mailing it to the author, in hopes that the personally-autographed book can be forwarded to her.

I wish the hobby had some type of special achievement award such collectors could receive. Ron is helping other hobbyists with the news (namely, that Mr. Nunn’s grave health looks like he’ll never be signing autographs again, and that any letters would be a wasted burden on his family).

Ron’s all-out effort got a phone call from Mrs. Nunn. Remember, he sent a two-page letter to Mr. Nunn. A brief, generic form letter would have been ignored, prolonging the mystery of the missing card.

I’m most impressed that Ron has reached out to the Nunn family, despite his inability to get an autograph.

If you ever get a chance to thank the spouse of a former player, do it! Thoughtful wives remind retirees not to forget their fans who collect. Let’s not forget these off-the-field stars. Without them, there might be lots fewer autographs.